Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wild Ingredient Chase

When I lived in DC and first started this blog I would run all over town looking for special ingredients.  DC was a great place for hunting for unique recipe components. There was a great variety of markets I could visit to find almost anything I needed.  Beside the fact that I had a multitude of shopping choices, the biggest contributor to these ingredient chases was that I had the time.  It was in my pre-mommy/pre-homeowner days and I had all the time in the world to cook and track down every single specific ingredient.  These days I just don't have the time to go to four different stores looking for something specific and so I substitute much more than I ever had to before.

When I first read through the ingredient list on this recipe, I planned on substituting the potato starch for corn starch.  I had never heard of potato starch and since it was such a small amount I planned to use what I already had.   But for some reason I decided to Google the difference between potato starch and corn starch as I sat down to make my grocery list.  As it turns out, thickeners behave differently at different temperatures and potato starch is able to tolerate higher temperatures than corn starch.  I decided to put faith in the author of this recipe and stick with potato starch since it is used to thicken baked goods.  Luckily I only had to visit one additional store (Whole Foods) to find the potato starch.


Shrimp Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Cooking Light January 2012



  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese 
  • 1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon's), divided 
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese



1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add cream cheese, milk, and pepper; cook until cheese melts, stirring until smooth.

Remove from heat. Stir in basil.

Place shrimp in a bowl. Sprinkle with potato starch; toss well to coat.

Add cream cheese mixture to shrimp; toss well.

4. Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells.

Coat a 11 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish. Arrange shells in prepared dish;

top with remaining 2 cups marinara. Sprinkle shells evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until shrimp is done.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe


Anonymous said...

Look delicious, but with my tomato allergy I'd use Alfredo!

Dining Alone said...

This looks so rich and delicious. I have never used potato starch before.

Veronica Montagnol said...

Yum these look amazing! I will have to give this a try!